I don’t believe people are born evil, I believe we are taught intolerance, prejudice, selfishness and anger by our society, it is our culture and social networks that teach us – and yes we can rise above that with education and socialisation, but I do not believe that people are born to murder.
Waking up on July 23 and wading down stairs to see what was on the ‘telly’ I was brought face to face with the intolerance and prejudice we have all learned, I was brought face to face with the senseless loss of life. Fortunately I was with my partner so did not show my revulsion and we both sat in silence trying to work out what happened – not the ‘tick tock’ of events but what had actually happened, and I still can’t make any sense of what has happened; neither can I make sense of what has happened now. I was so glad to be with Holger that day, though we barely spoke of the incident he helped me see that even though there is great evil in the world there is also great goodness.
I cannot make sense of the Norwegian Prime Minister’s response ‘we will fight this with more democracy’ and I cannot make sense of the lack of a vengeful response I am so used to hearing from countries when they have been attacked. I stare at the Prime Minister’s statement incredulous at the response, and totally amazed at its grace and wisdom, at its compassion and strength, I watched the King and Queen of Norway cry, and along with others, I want to hug them. Listening to an ex Norwegian Prime Minister on Radio about his trip around the Fjords reading Beowulf and the Norwegian resilience to the evils that once stalked the lands, and how the fight about against this evil is a lifelong battle I cry a little at the humanity of this man, and for the people involved in this tragedy.
Making sense of a senseless, in rational eyes, act of murder is impossible, but I am not angry at Breivik, I cannot get past the horror of the tragedy that occurred on Utoya the unbelievable suffering of the families, the survivors, the rescuers and can only struggle to imagine what they must feel. I cannot get past the grief and compassion, and I am not allowed into hatred because the Norwegian Prime Minister said we will fight this more democracy. I am reminded of Christ turning the other cheek,
I am reminded of Ghandi fasting for peace, and I reminded of Martin Luther King of having a dream, I am reminded that hatred is not the solution, I am reminded I human and I am better than fighting fire with more fire. I am not sure what I could have said to the survivors of Utoya, or the families of those who have died, I don’t think there are any words…
Words are inadequate, but words that make you feel something are a poor substitute for grief, but a couple of lines of WH Auden keep coming to mind: The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good. To families who will live with this tragedy I am sure the sun will shine less brightly now, to those who survived I hope that they will seize every day after the scars have healed. I do not know these people, I have not been to their country, and cannot speak to their language – but I stand with them for they are my brothers and sisters.